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Mayors pen prison relocation letter

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Posted at 4:15 PM, Jul 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-14 18:48:09-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The mayors of seven Utah communities faced with the prospect of a new prison opening within their borders have written a letter to the state's prison relocation commission, forming a united front against relocating the Draper prison anywhere.

"We are compelled to no longer give you reasons why we think it should not be in our backyard, but instead be moved to our neighboring cities backyard," the mayors wrote. "Rather, we all are united in stating that the prison does not need to be relocated any farther than the 680 vacant acres adjacent to the current facility."

The mayors are asking for prison relocation efforts to be postponed while more study is done on economic, tax and infrastructure issues.  The letter was signed by the mayors of Salt Lake City, Eagle Mountain, Fairfield, Grantsville, Saratoga Springs, Tooele and Cedar Fort.

Read the letter here:

In an interview with FOX 13 on Monday, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said the existing Draper site has not been considered as much as it should be.

"There's a lot of acreage that isn't being used at the Draper site," Becker said. "And they haven't really looked at the cost and benefits of that site versus other sites."

There are four sites currently under consideration for a new Utah State Prison: Salt Lake City, Grantsville, Fairfield and Eagle Mountain.

A map of the four sites under consideration for a new Utah State Prison.

A map of the four sites under consideration for a new Utah State Prison.

Asked for his response to the letter, Prison Relocation Commission Co-Chair Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, told FOX 13: "I've got seven mayors and, to date, most of those issues are tied to backyards."

Sen. Stevenson said study has been done on the Draper site going back several years. He noted that the PRC has been tasked with finding a new site. But he insisted the current site will not work.

"If you go in and look at Draper, you would have to be tearing buildings down while you are building them to create the property you need," he said. "Some of it's east of I-15, split by the power corridor that splits the valley. Some of it's north of Bangerter (Highway)."

The PRC is scheduled to meet on Thursday morning, but no final site will be advanced. Sen. Stevenson told FOX 13 he expected it could be October before a final site is selected.